Photodisinfection is a topical, non-antibiotic antimicrobial therapy that destroys a broad spectrum of pathogens including fungi, bacteria and virus without damaging human tissue. Unlike antibiotics, Photodisinfection selectively kills virulence factors such as the endotoxins and exotoxins produced by pathogens, leading to a clinically observable anti-inflammatory effect. The treatment process takes only minutes, making it over 1,000 times more effective at biofilm killing than antibiotics.
Photodisinfection is a minimally invasive non-thermal therapy involving the light activation of a photosensitizer to eliminate topical infections in a highly targeted approach. Photodisinfection has been proven to be safe and effective in other applications such as for the dental, sinusitis and hospital acquired infection prevention markets. In dentistry, Photodisinfection has been proven to be highly effective for the treatment of caries, endodontics, restorative dentistry, periodontitis, peri-implantitis and halitosis. Many new applications of Photodisinfection are now under development.
The Photodisinfection Process: Instant Antimicrobial Therapy
Apply Photosensitizer to Infection Site & Illuminate with Appropriate Wavelength for Several Minutes
A photosensitizing solution is applied to the treatment site where the photosensitizer molecules preferentially bind to the targeted microbes. The photosensitizer molecules are inactive at this stage. A light of a specific wavelength and intensity illuminates the treatment site and a photocatalytic reaction occurs. The wavelength is carefully chosen to maximize absorption of light energy by the photosensitizer.
This 2 step procedure results in the destruction of the targeted microbes and their virulence factors without damaging host cells. This reaction involves the formation of short-lived, highly reactive free-radical oxygen species. These radicals cause a physical disruption of the microbial cell membrane through oxidative reactions, resulting in immediate rupture and destruction of the cell. This process occurs in seconds with total kills completed in minutes.
The Photodisinfection process has also been shown to eliminate a multitude of virulence factors, unlike antibiotics. When the light isremoved, the photocatalytic reaction ceases along with all antimicrobial action. Photodisinfection does not promote the development of resistance. The Photodisinfection process is both pain-free and stress-free due to lack of side-effects or damage to human tissue.
We are counting on public support to encourage early adoption of this important infection prevention technology in our healthcare facilities. Lives and better patient outcomes are at stake as so many of our current antibiotics have become less effective against a growing number of superbugs. Everyone now knows of someone who has died of an infection; this was not the case when I was growing up.
“It takes less than five minutes and it’s not painful,” said Dr. Wong, one of the dedicated team members at VGH. “Photodisinfection has several distinct advantages. It is not subject to any type of drug resistance and it doesn’t develop drug resistance.”
Today is a very proud day for all of us. We can’t thank the amazing team at Vancouver General Hospital enough for their willingness to champion innovation and change. The results of this project mark a global first for photodisinfection as a non-antibiotic approach to reducing surgical site infections.
We have a very busy week ahead of us, so please stay tuned to this blog as we’ll be bringing you a lot more updates over the next few days.
Over the coming year, the world will learn more about our MRSAid™ photodisinfection technology and its ability to prevent surgical site infections. The last patients in the year long quality improvement program at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) will be treated next month, giving us a chance to look retrospectively at how surgical site infections were affected at this major hospital. This program, involving over 5,000 patients at VGH, sought to reduce infections in all patients undergoing cardio, vascular, neurological, thoracic, breast, spinal and orthopaedic surgeries. Data from this analysis is expected in the late fall and results are expected to be announced at Infection Control Conferences in 2013.
People who carry MRSA or MSSA are at much greater risk of self infection when they are immunocompromised and weakened after surgery. Up to 30% of patients are simply unable to defend themselves from the tenacious bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus which lie dormant in the nose, waiting for opportunities to invade the body. Eliminating the bacteria carried in the nose prior to surgery has been proven to reduce the rate of surgical site infections. From a number of other studies (including Bode et al “Preventing SSIs In Nasal Carriers of Staph”), we have learned that eliminating both MRSA and MSSA from the nose prior to surgery reduces surgical site infections (SSIs) by up to 56% and total healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by up to 79% in non-surgical admissions.
MRSAidTM would like to congratulate Dr. Cale Street on being profiled on CEO Clips where he discusses the severity of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) and future plans for MRSAidTM. Dr. Street touches upon the seriousness of superbugs that are becoming resistant to antibiotics and subsequently resulting in difficult to treat HAIs.
MRSAidTM is currently being used at Vancouver General Hospital for patients undergoing select surgeries in order to reduce the risk of developing post-surgical site infections. Since MRSAidTMdoes not generate bacterial resistance, this is a milestone in the fight against HAIs and antibiotic resistant superbugs. Watch the video below:
Health care professionals are exposed to increasing numbers of patients with MRSA colonization or infection from both acute care and long-term care facilities. As MRSA is estimated to affect tens of thousands of people, costing the health care system $4-5 billion annually, awareness of MRSA and the sources of MRSA transmission has been steadily growing.
It is estimated that between 30-40% of the population are colonized with Staphylococcus aureus. A growing percentage of these people are carriers of an antibiotic resistant strain, generally referred to as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) . MRSA is a type of Gram- Read more »
The light diffusing tip delivers light to the treatment area, powering the photodynamic reaction without heat or generating resistance
“There are two kinds of light — the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures…”
In 1963, James Thurber was almost certainly unaware of photodynamic medicine when he authored that quote, or else he might have added a 3rd type of light – the glimmer that heals. Loosely put, the word photodynamic means using light to cause an action or effect. This definition, though simple, succinctly summarizes the concept of photodynamic medicine – a set of therapies that leverages visible light to create a targeted, potent effect. So how can simple light in the range of red to violet (the kind we can see) generate a clinical effect? Save for a select group of therapies, some more reputable than others, it cannot…on its own. Read more »
Biofilm Stages of Development - Source: Wiki Commons
Humans are multicellular creatures each comprised of trillions of cells. Oddly enough, bacteria in our bodies outnumber our human cells by 10:1, although their size is, on average, about one tenth of a human cell. When seen in this light, humans really are part human and part bacteria. We are dependent on the maintenance of a delicate balance between human cells and bacterial cells for good health as we coexist with bacteria in a symbiotic relationship. There are estimated to be between 500-1,000 species of bacteria living in the human gut and skin. Some of our bacteria are known to perform certain tasks that are critical. Without our bacteria, for instance, we would be unable to digest and process our food intake. These commensal bacteria are widely known as our “flora”. Too many of any one kind of bacteria, and we are left in poor health. Bacteria, therefore, play a very important role in human health and human disease.